New Texts In Play In WIPO Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources Talks 12/05/2011 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Negotiators trying this week to advance talks for UN World Intellectual Property Organization treaties on traditional knowledge, genetic resources, and folklore have made progress on draft texts, but are facing sharp criticism from indigenous groups and some governments claiming their concerns are being ignored. [Update: final IGC texts on traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions are out.] At issue are draft texts emerging from the 9-13 May meeting of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. New texts have been produced by subgroups working during the week on traditional knowledge and genetic resources. Several participants today sought to suggest that there is a positive spirit in what is one of the most involved and vigorous negotiations in recent history at WIPO. Distance still remains on key issues such as how long protection of traditional knowledge might last, or whether nations should among the beneficiaries, rather than just communities, sources said. The committee is expected to reconvene in a plenary meeting tomorrow morning to receive the reports of subgroups working on each of the three committee topics. This evening, the subject of traditional cultural expressions (folklore) was taken up and no new text was made available at the outset. [Note: paragraph corrected] An earlier draft of the genetic resources text, available here [pdf], was stamped 11 May 5:30. And late today a new draft of the genetic resources text was circulated, available here [pdf]. The new text, stamped 1:00, shows numerous proposals deleted. The genetic resources are behind the other two topics and are still mainly focussed on objectives. Indigenous Peoples Decry Lack of Respect Perhaps surprising for a United Nations environment addressing their issues, indigenous groups are not permitted to participate directly in negotiations about their traditional knowledge, folklore and biological resources. Rather, they must get a recognised member state of WIPO to put forward their proposals. This was decided by WIPO member states. The WIPO secretariat has paid for indigenous peoples representatives to attend meetings on issues of interest to them. On the floor today, several representatives of indigenous peoples as well as several governments that support them declared that their proposals this week have been ignored, and, in some cases pulled from the draft text when the government sponsoring the proposal was not in the room. A blistering statement [pdf, in Spanish] was delivered by one indigenous group. Tonight, the indigenous groups issued a joint statement [pdf] charging that their views were “dismissed without consideration” in a Tuesday night subgroup meeting that they said was supposed to only “clean up” the text rather than actually make substantive drafting decisions. The groups were planning to hold a press conference at the UN in Geneva tomorrow (13 May). A representative of Venezuela today in the committee plenary said the process is unfair as he was the only member of his delegation and could not be in all sessions simultaneously, so was not there when his country’s proposals were stripped from the draft text. Representatives from Bolivia, Ecuador, and Guatemala also spoke in favour of the indigenous peoples view. The meeting chair, from Kenya, acknowledged their concerns but kept the committee moving forward on its agenda. The indigenous groups said in their statement that they will remain till the end of this week’s meeting. But, they insisted, their attendance should in no way be interpreted as having collaborated in the negotiations nor giving their consent to the outcome texts. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related William New may be reached at email@example.com."New Texts In Play In WIPO Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources Talks" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.